Through their entire life, your dog’s food is the cornerstone of their health and development. From puppyhood until their senior years, you should pay close attention to your dog’s nutritional needs. Temporary adjustments to their diet could help them through periods of growth, sickness, or intolerance.
It’s easy to worry about your efforts when it comes to feeding your dog. How do you know if they’re eating the right food, and what does it mean if they get an upset tummy? With so many questions and possible doubts about their nutrition, it’s always worth knowing a few of the core reasons why your dog’s diet matters.
Dog nutrition: The basics
No two dogs are the same, so it’s crucial to note firstly that some breeds require more care and attention than others. Always do your research on your dog’s breed and genetics before choosing their food.
- Should my dog’s diet be meat-based?
Yes. A protein-rich diet is stable for every type of dog, and it’s imperative to understand their unique nutritional requirements. You might not need to think about this in too much detail if you’re feeding your dog a complete kibble, but treats should still be given carefully.
If you’re preparing your dog’s food independently or feeding them a raw diet, you need to do your research first. Likewise, make sure you know about the foods that are toxic to dogs.
Additionally, you should never be tempted to force your dog into eating fad diets or anything against professional veterinary recommendation. Dogs and puppies can experience deformities as a result of malnourishment, which is taken extremely seriously by authorities.
- What could happen if I feed my dog the wrong food?
If you’ve been feeding your dog unsuitable or insufficient food, the consequences could be severe. At best, your dog might show signs of sensitivity like a slightly upset tummy, or refusing to eat as much as they normally do. In the worst-case scenario, your dog could have a serious allergic reaction or develop long-term health problems.
There are also several serious canine health conditions you might need to learn about. Even though symptoms can appear out of the blue, you should know how to recognise the signs of canine Cushing and behaviours that suggest something’s wrong.
- How often should I feed my dog?
Your dog’s appetite and nutritional needs will vary according to their age, size, and activity levels. Even two identical dogs might have different requirements, though, so it can be a process of trial and error before you figure out the perfect amount of food for your dog.
Experts generally recommend that an adult dog should eat between 2% and 3% of its bodyweight every day. As an example, this means that a small, 5kg dog would be eating about 100g of food daily, which may be split into two or more meals.
Puppies might need to be fed more regularly, since they will be used to suckling their mothers several times a day. It’s best to contact your vet if you’re unsure on your puppy’s specific requirement.
Overview: Healthy diet, healthy dog
A nutritionally complete diet not only helps your dog to live a happy, long and fulfilling life but also means they can avoid obesity, gut problems, and recurrent health issues.
If your dog isn’t eating properly, seems uninterested in food or is suddenly aggressive around mealtimes, it’s a good idea to see a vet as soon as possible.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.